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The Norseman

Students coach flag football, give back to community

The smell of wet grass. The clash of cleats. The thwack of the football hitting the receiver’s hands. As the spunky eight-year-olds hit the field for their next flag football match, sophomores CJ Fletcher and Carter Stout stand on the sidelines as their coaches, ready to begin the day’s practice. They mentor their adolescent understudies by training them through the valuable experience of flag football while helping the kids develop mentally and physically.

“I love seeing young kids grow as players and get better at playing football,” Fletcher said. “What I do most of the time is just think about what we do in baseball and football, and then we teach those things to really help the kids.”

Fletcher and Stout are the head coaches of a local flag football team and demonstrate the importance of playing football. The coaches grow alongside the players as their knowledge of coaching, teaching, and discipline expands.

“It’s a learning experience for both us and the kids,” Stout said. “We’re trying to teach them character-building traits, and we’re all learning. We have to remember that.”

The two students volunteered to coach after being asked by their football coach, Justin Sereno.

“I picked them because they’re willing to put themselves out there and learn,” Sereno said. “I think that if you have a goal of becoming a coach, you have to be willing to put yourself out there to experience the role of coach.”

Sereno is proud to have the two teenagers work with the flag football team and believes they are a positive example as pioneers in the local area.

“They’ve been leaders in the community in terms of building up the youth program,” Sereno said. “I think it has also helped them become better players because if you understand how to coach the sport, your gameplay goes to another level.”

Sereno hopes that the duo will be able to teach the eight-year-olds the fundamentals of the sport and believes that all they need is a little bit of time, endurance, and tolerance.

“The most important skill they need is patience because those kids are young,” Sereno said. “Their skill level is all over the place, so just being patient and developing them is the way to go.”

According to Stout, discipline and direction are some of the most essential skills for instructing the kids in an orderly fashion.

“Both CJ and I have discipline,” Carter said. “We’re both trying to look at it through the kids’ eyes and put ourselves in their shoes.”

While the two coaches want to promote teamwork and cooperation, they must also encourage competitiveness to prepare the children for long-term success.

“Any time you’re active and competitive, it means that when you become an adult, you’re competing against an unlimited number of people for whatever you’re trying to achieve,” Sereno said. “The quicker and earlier those kids can learn that skill, the better off they will be in middle school, high school, and beyond.”

Fletcher and Stout believe that playing sports and participating in extracurricular activities can help students make the right choices later in life and improve their chances of attending a college or university.

“I think it sets younger kids up to where they are learning these things about teamwork and cooperation, and they can keep all those attributes throughout their education,” Stout said. “These skills can carry them through college and even further.”

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